New York (The Verge) — Rite Aid used facial recognition in secret across hundreds of its stores theverge.com/2020/7/28/2134….
Rite Aid had been using facial recognition in its drugstores for more than eight years with zero oversight and often without informing customers, a Reuters investigation found. The tech, from two different firms, was sometimes unreliable when trying to identify Black individuals, and Rite Aid was more often deploying it low-income and minority neighborhoods.
Concerns over the unregulated use of facial recognition in the US, both by law enforcement and private companies, has been steadily growing over the last few years, fueled by studies that show the tech in its current form to be inherently flawed and more likely to misclassify the gender and identity of Black individuals. Numerous companies have now publicly renounced the tech in one form or another. IBM says it will no longer invest in or develop the tech at all, while both Amazon and Microsoft say they are pausing facial recognition contracts with law enforcement until Congress passes laws regulating its sale and use. A number of municipal governments, like Oakland, California’s, have also begun banning police use of the tech.
A growing concern among activists, artificial intelligence researchers, and lawmakers is that the tech is being sold and used in secret, without oversight or regulation that might protect against civil rights abuses. Companies like Clearview AI — which was found to have been supplying a powerful facial recognition database and search tool to countless law enforcement agencies and private companies — have emerged as public faces of the threat the tech poses to privacy and other at-risk civil liberties. Now, it’s looking like even run-of-the-mill retail chains, like Rite Aid, might be using facial recognition in secret. — Nick Statt/@verge